© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Air quality better than 10 years ago

Eve Abernethy

While the Covid-19 lockdown brought lower levels of pollution, air quality remains a problem in Canterbury. 

Environment Canterbury (ECan) data shows half of the eight testing stations in Canterbury have exceeded the maximum pollution level allowed this year.

Christchurch has recorded eight breaches, Rangiora two, while Timaru has nine. 

ECan measures pollutant data from eight testing stations, spanning from Waimate to Rangiora.


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ECan air quality senior science analyst Teresa Aberkane said home heating had an impact on air pollution.

"It's how you heat your home." 

ECan helped people upgrade woodburners and followed up on complaints of excessive smoke, Aberkane said.

She said Canterbury's air quality had improved over the last 10 years.

Washdyke was a hot spot for air pollution with 14 high pollution nights recorded, 13 higher than its allowance. 

It was difficult to pinpoint the source of pollution, Aberkane said. It could be due to its industrial nature, or its proximity to the coast.

The four areas that didn't exceed their maximum high pollution nights were Ashburton, Geraldine and Waimate with no exceedances and Kaipoi with two out of the three allowed.